Gray Areas
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Gray Areas

Yes, I have a tattoo. Yes, I smoke cigars. Yes, I love Jesus.

Gray Areas
Alec Blackford

Take a minute and put yourself in this person’s shoes. You’ve had a tough life. You got in with the wrong crowd and it led to a life of bad choices and regret. You’ve endured struggles, but have decided that today is that day that you are turning your life around. You walk into church for the first time in shorts and a t-shirt with a hat on backwards. You have several tattoos and a gruff beard. You take that first step in with anticipation of a joyous group of God-fearing people only to be met with disapproving looks and eye-rolls. You turn around and never come back.

The unfortunate truth is that this is not an uncommon story. In today’s society, Christians are viewed as stuck up, judgmental and rude. My question is simple. How did we get here? What seem like such drastic opinions did not come out of nowhere. I believe that we have arrived at this harsh place because of the way we treat gray areas.

Gray areas are principles in which the Bible gives no clear ruling. Examples of these are smoking, tattoos, drinking and gambling. The problem here is not having preferences or opinions. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and preferences and they should have them. However, it is a problem when you take those preferences and hold them over others. Doing this alienates others and creates a judgmental culture. As Christians, it is time to start calling these grey areas what they are, barriers to the Gospel.

We can break down these barriers in two simple ways. The first is to come up with what we honestly think about these issues. A lot of controversy in our culture stems from confusion. Knowledge and understanding leads to clarity. Clarity leads to transformation.

The second is that we need to pray for strength in our hospitality. Like in the opening scenario, a problem that our churches run into is that people don’t feel welcome. Becoming understanding of other people is not an easy task. That is what God is there for. Prayer gives us the strength to love on people that have different opinions and cultures as us. The mission of all Christians is to make disciples of all nations. This doesn’t mean only by location, but by cultures. We are called to make disciples of all cultures.

For now I will leave you with two challenges. So, to you, my non-Christian friend, I don’t know what situations you have had in your past. I’m sorry that you’ve gone through the struggles you have, but I have good news. There is a God great enough to crush those problems. My challenge to you is to find a church and check it out. If you are unwelcome there, try again. I am praying for you to find a fit. Next is to you, Christian scanning the room looking for those doing wrong, get over yourself. Let us not forget that someone once overlooked our flaws when they showed us Christ’s love. Pass on the Love.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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